JAM Magazine Concert Reviews

March 18, 2017
Verizon Theatre at Grand Prairie
Grand Prairie, TX USA
Review by David DiPietro
Photos by Joseph De leon

Bryan Ferry

A Magical Night At Verizon Theatre

Legendary former lead singer of Roxy Music, Bryan Ferry made his first Dallas appearance ever and the show was a celebration of the Roxy legacy. A packed Verizon Theater crowd of about 7,000 scarfed the epic proceedings down like a St. Patrick's Day shepherd's pie.

Like the Velvet Underground before them, Roxy Music was at least 10 years ahead of their time musically. Where the VU prefigured the minimalist punk aesthetic, Roxy Music, along with David Bowie, were precursors to the new romantic movement; not only in sound, but in kitsch, Art Decco imagery, and fashion. All of these virtues were on full display last night in Grand Prarie.

Taking the dimly-lit stage, dapperly-dressed in a dark blue suit, Ferry and his 8-piece band took the audience on a 2 hours+ journey through the Roxy Music catalog, which managed to hit all of the halcyon highlights.

"The Main Thing," from Roxy's biggest selling and final album, Avalon, opened the set in majestic fashion and the lush production from the album was translated perfectly onstage. By the 4th song, a mesmerizing "Beauty Queen," the sound was dialed in, and Ferry wowed the 40's to 60's-aged audience with vocal pipes that have seemingly not aged much, in a 45 year career.

Taking Phil Manzanera's place on guitar was the dual axe attack of Chris Spedding and and Jacob Quistgaard and they proceeded to spit out sparks with seeming ease.

"Out of the Blue" was sublime, and this reading of the tune demonstrated how Roxy Music could sound like Cole Porter in a Manhattan cocktail bar one moment and then switch on the afterburners and resemble Hawkwind at the Roundhouse in full-trip--high octane blanga mode. Roxy Music always had two feetfirmly planted in the future and a third leg romanticizing in the 1940s, which are two things that made them sound so unique, if not downright strange to early 70's ears.

It was no coincidence that the presence of contraband became evident during, "Stronger Through the Years," as the air inside Verizon began to turn decidedly purple. This managed to match the song's tasteful lighting effects, which were more complex than immediately meted the eye, but not so much so to be anything but a psychedelic enhancement to the material. Both the stage set and the lighting reminded me of that used by David Bowie, on the Lodger tour.

A surprising cover of Neil Young's "Like a Hurricane" cooked nicely and I could not help my think it might have been in tribute to Chuck Berry, who had passed away at 90, the evening before.

The show then hit overdrive, and for its duration the sold-out audience was treated to what can only be described as a heavenly barrage of the best of Roxy Music's catalog, including a sullen, "Tara," a brooding "Take a Chance With Me" and a shimmering "Re-Make/Re-Model."

"In Every Dream Home a Heartache" sounded just as it did on the For Your Pleasure album, with Ferry dazzling as ever on keyboards making the song sound timeless. "More Than This" and "Avalon," both from the album of the latter title, got the younger audience members on their feet, with pristine violin and backing vocals courtesy Marina Moore, Fonzi Thornton and Bobbie Gordon. Again, the band was so tight and so precise, that if you closed your eyes you would have thought you were at a Roxy Music show in 1981. Ferry/Roxy's biggest hit, "Love is the Drug," showed the concert was nearing it's zenith and this segued into rip-roaring, set ending "Virginia Plain," an appropriate choice, as it was their first single in 1972.

After taking about a three minute breather, the Ferry and company were brought back for a triumphant, three song encore, the first of which "Both Ends Burning," a deep cut that I was hoping to hear, while on our way to the concert. The song sizzled, baked and fried, all at the same time. A cover of John Lennon's "Jealous Guy" was also a surprise, yet not a big of one as "Like a Hurricane," and this lilting lullaby ebbed nicely into a pristine version of, "Editions of You." This tune had the entire house on their feet, in full-throttle revelry.

When starting to write this review, I mistakenly wrote: "Roxy Music, Verizon Theater, 3/18/2017." These ears couldn't tell the difference. Roxy Music never played Dallas in their original 10 years together and none of the reunion shows came here either, so I never saw them. This was also Bryan Ferry's first time in Big D Suffice to say, this show delivered and was well worth the wait.

Bryan Ferry Vocals
Chris Spedding Guitar
Jacob Quistgaard Guitar
Jorja Chalmers Sax & Keyboards
Luke Bullen Drums
Neil Jason Bass
Christian Gulino MD & Keyboards
Marina Moore Violin & Viola
Fonzi Thornton Backing Vocals
Bobbie Gordon Backing Vocals

e great state of Texas. Do yourself a favor and Go See The Reverend Horton Heat, always cool, always great, one of the best bands on the road that never disappoints!